Gestalt – This story grew out of a description I heard on TV of what a ‘Gestalt’ actually is. A single body made up of many parts, like a crowd at a football match chanting together, an army marching in step. It has been used in Doctor Who before in Image of the Fendahl, the Fendahl being a Gestalt creature with a single core humanoid looking figure and the fendahleen – worms that crawled around independently of the host but connected to it psychically.

I had a similar idea here. There would be a ‘queen’ creature and a host of others that were taking over the identities of the people on the planet while their bodies were drained of lifeforce.

The Doctor’s decision to end the life of one of the victims is a hard one. Euthanasia is something The Doctor, who values life above all things, would not do ordinarily. But in such a situation he would have no choice. This story was written BEFORE the episode, Rise of the Cybermen when he did a very similar thing to a cyber-converted woman called Sally Phelan, but that scene confirms that when he has to, The Doctor makes hard and terrible decisions because nobody else can.

The other element, of course, was a follow on from the previous story in which we met Dodo. Steven was a fellow traveller with The Doctor and Dodo. He was found on the planet of the Mechanoids, and was a space ship pilot from the future. He left The Doctor and Dodo on the planet of the Savages to help create an equal society. Here we see that equal society, a success on his part, but Steven is now and old man who has lost some of his faculties. But he remembers enough to know that his people NEED The Doctor.

Alzheimers can seem funny when it is not personal. It most certainly is not, and Steven’s ramblings are tragic more than anything, and I hope that came across in the story.